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Buffalo Business First

Viridi Parente adding 70,000 square feet as it executes on clean energy vision

Viridi Parente is adding 70,000 square feet of laboratory, manufacturing and shipping space to its East Side footprint.

Led by founder and CEO Jon Williams, the company occupies 120,000 square feet of a former American Axle factory on Delavan Avenue. The renovation is taking place in a wing of the facility that was built in 1923 – pushing Viridi Parente’s total footprint to 190,000 square feet.

The company is pursuing a variety of applications for its lithium ion battery technology, including electric vehicles and energy storage for buildings.

The approximately $6 million project is being overseen by St. Louis-based Alberici Constructors and Ohio-based SSOE Group.

Williams brought on Steve Finch, former plant manager of the General Motors Tonawanda Engine Plant, to lead the project internally.

The expansion will allow the Buffalo facility to go from large-scale research and development into commercial production, building out capacity that is expected to last through the first half of 2023, Williams said.

The company has about 70 employees and expects to add 30 to 120 more to staff the new facility, depending on how many shifts it ends up running, he said.

“This is a transition between hand- and station-build to an area that is more production-based,” Williams said. “It will be designed to replicate production and to go from one to three shifts.”

Viridi Parente raised $30 million in a funding round led by B. Thomas Golisano in late 2019, and is still operating off the runway from that event, Williams said. Another equity round could happen in the future, but the size and timing haven’t yet been determined.

The entirety of the American Axle facility includes 850,000 square feet on 42 acres. American Axle abandoned the site in 2007 and Williams purchased it a year later. It now includes eight other tenants, including green tech companies, nonprofits and community groups.

The campus “ushered in the industrial revolution in Buffalo and the northeastern United States,” Williams said. “With this came jobs, communities, families, and prosperity. Viridi is working to usher in the technological revolution that will bring prosperity back to (the 14215 zip code) and the northeastern United States for the next 100 years.